Uptime is the cornerstone of the new storage solution installed during spring 2020 at MHI Vestas in Aarhus Denmark. Based on a strategy that all operations are important, MHI Vestas operates with full operation on a system that is constantly being developed on. With this new solution the turbine giant has changed the game on how to run a modern server storage solution in a corporation in constant growth.
Even though the name Vestas rings a familiar bell with most people, MHI Vestas in Aarhus is a fairly young corporation. The company works as an independent unit on developing and establishing offshore wind parks all over the World.
They started with just 100 employees and are advancing fast. MHI Vestas now employs 3.500 people all working around the clock and depending on the company’s IT infrastructure. Thus, the original hardware was no longer contemporary in relation to the workload and demand for uptime.
The Vestas IT department is responsible for all server infrastructure from HQ in Aarhus to the wind turbines and production sites both locally and abroad. HQ has managed the installation of the new server solution, which ensures both full uptime and reliable management of important data – even in the event of power failure or other external threats.
”At MHI Vestas our production needs to be up and running all the time as we are working 24/7. Therefore, data management was crucial when we started looking for a new solution. Documentation is critical in wind turbine production. Everything is being logged so we can go back and analyze the process if a wind turbine fails. The turbine blades are being x-rayed before approval and all data and quality controls must be logged. A high level of availability is an important part of the new solution” says Head of Infrastructure Services at MHI Vestas.
A wind turbine collects data and reports back to MHI Vestas making it easier to service the turbines. This requires data to be securely collected into databases. The IT-system also stores a huge MS platform together with the internal administration.
The new server storage solution is built around the HPE 3PAR, which is developed specifically to handle big data in work intensive environments. The system runs on two identical storage systems at two different locations. If one should fail due to power failure or similar, the other will immediately take over. This is a crucial feature in maintaining 24/7 production.
When working a traditional IT solution, it is common praxis to prioritize company tasks to be able to do maintenance and repairs. At MHI Vestas they have a different and somewhat untraditional approach to company tasks. All processes are equally important, and the new solution gives them full uptime to avoid any disturbances in organization.
”The system supports us not having to prioritize what is important and what is not. The reality of it is that everything is important. Vestas is constantly growing, and top priorities change every day. So, we prioritize all operation to be up and running all the time. Sales and production orders are managed in our order management system and will naturally be the main priority to some. But for the guy standing at the harbor ready to ship a freighter loaded with turbines, the covering letter that he can’t print is the most important thing right now. And so, our priorities change every day,” says Head of Infrastructure Services at MHI Vestas.
At MHI Vestas they are still able to take peaks into consideration should the system be overloaded. They don’t to shut down single functions but can run on a lower capacity if needed. For instance, it can be necessary to shut down a turbine if something is wrong with it.
A wind turbine is considered critical infrastructure because it produces power to a large area. Therefor getting it operating again as soon as possible has top priority.
When MHI Vestas implements a solution that gives them full uptime it is to ensure full operation around the clock. But the solution also makes it possible to remove single elements from one data center without it affecting the users or the clients who have bought the wind turbines.
Previously these types of improvement slots needed to be planned well ahead and was always carried out with a certain risk of failure. That just doesn’t work in a modern IT department. “IT is developing so fast and we need to be able to make changes and improvements all the time. With this new solution we can do that and even faster than we have before,” says MHI Vestas.
Danoffice IT was the specialist selected to lead the implementation at MHI Vestas after evaluating different suppliers. They could easily have bought the same hardware directly from HPE, but deliberately chose to work with Danoffice IT on the project.
”Danoffice IT has so much know-how and experience with HPE products. They have highly skilled technicians on their team that bring stability to the implementation,” the turbine manufacturer explains. Danoffice IT helped to set up an identical system at the HPE test center to show that the solution works in real life and not just in theory.
According to MHI Vestas Danoffice IT goes a long way to create trust around the work they do. At MHI Vestas the Head of Infrastructure Services has previously worked together with Danoffice IT and it is his opinion that they deliver the service and attention that you want as a customer.
”They understand our core business and are very thorough when investigating our actual requirements,” he says and continues: “They are very honest in their way of doing business. For instance, HPE has recently launched the latest version of the product that we bought. It would have been easy for Danoffice IT to sell us this new product, but it is almost never a good idea to play with the newest technology without knowing the results. And Danoffice IT agreed that last year’s model was the right one for us. I really respect that kind of honesty!”
The new solution was implemented at MHI Vestas during early summer 2020 and even though the solution had been tested in advance the IT team was anxious to see how the final installation would turn out. ”The installation went even better than we had expected. The new system performs so well, and we were up and running during the very first test. We never experienced that before!”.
■ 3.500 employees
■ Develop and establish offshore wind parks
■ 2 x HPE 3PAR 9450 Storage Arrays
■ The solution was installed and ready April 2020
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